O'Neill Diamondbacks Win League Tourney, Atkinson Claims Consolation
The O'Neill Diamondbacks claimed the 2014 Elkhorn Valley Little League Championship late Wednesday night.
The Elkhorn Valley Little League finished up the season with the annual tournament on Wednesday night. Consolation and championship games were played at Tom Earley Field, with an exciting finish that ran late into the night.
Atkinson and the O'Neill A's squared off in the first game of the night, vying for 3rd place. Pitching was the name of the game early, with starters Jordan Tasler and Andrew Alder combining for 21 strikeouts in their 8 combined innings. Atkinson managed to scratch across a run in the top of the first inning, a lead which held until the fifth inning. The Cubs put up a 4-spot in the 3rd inning, followed by the A's doing the same in their half of the 4th. After another run pushed Atkinson's lead to 6-4, the A's came up with a two run 5th to tie it up heading into the final frame. The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring four runs in the top half of the inning. The defense allowed the first two A's batters to reach the basepaths, resulting in one score, before shutting down the O'Neill rally to complete the 10-7 win for 3rd place.
The championship game between the O'Neill Diamondbacks and Ainsworth was a good one to watch. With unseasonably cool temperatures and no wind, it was a beautiful night for baseball. Ainsworth started off the game as the away team and knocked in two runs. O'Neill answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Ainsworth made sure that was the last time O'Neill would have the lead for a long time, batting in two runs in the 2nd and putting up 4 scores in the 3rd inning to take an 8-4 lead by the halfway point in the game. Ainsworth pitcher Grant Stec did a great job of holding O'Neill in check until the bottom of the 4th inning, when the D-backs worked 5 walks into a three run inning to cut the deficit to two runs. O'Neill releif pitcher Colin Notkin mowed through the solid Ainsworth lineup for four innings, allowing just one run and striking out nine with no walks. This allowed O'Neill to make it a ballgame in the bottom of the 6th and last inning. The D-backs took advantage of several odd rolls to get runners on base, including a ball that started foul and just rolled inside of the line to allow all runners to be safe. It was the type of inning that made you think it was destiny, as the D-backs pushed across three runs with two outs to spare on a bases-loaded single from leadoff man Kolby Dean that scored Chase Heiss for the 10-9 walkoff win.